SpaceX set to launch massive Falcon Heavy rocket

SpaceX is launching arguably its most daring mission to date Tuesday, when the Falcon Heavy rocket takes off on its first test flight.

The Falcon Heavy rocket is massive, larger than anything that has launched since NASA’sSaturn V missions, which took people to the moon. The rocket’s target launch is set for Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. ET from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with a 2.5-hour launch window. There are windows scheduled on Wednesday and Thursday as well, in case Tuesday’s launch doesn’t work.

Thousands of excited viewers are already lining up along the Florida coast to witness the event. Even actor Harrison Ford will be in attendance — the Falcon, after all, is named after his Millennium Falcon from “Star Wars.”

This is a private mission funded by billionaire Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX — the Falcon Heavy has three engine cores with 27 Merlin engines, capable of lifting 5 million pounds into orbit. But this mission is carrying a much lighter cargo. Musk, 46, will send his own cherry-red Tesla roadster, complete with a spacesuit-clad dummy in the driver’s seat, as its cargo.

The car “will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent,” Musk tweeted in December.

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